This post may contain affiliate links. For more info on this, visit my disclosure page. Thank you for your support in this way!
Lost Apothecary’s Back-of-Book Description
Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads!
March 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick
“A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.
Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
I chose this with my friend back in March 2021 for our Book of The Month. We both read the description and thought it would be a fun, female-focused story.
Well… The description may have been a bit more aspirational than actual. Or perhaps it just didn’t resonate with us the way it did for other people?
In any case, my friend never finished and I felt a little obligated to push through, even though I didn’t find it particularly enjoyable. Let me explain why…
First of all, I really liked the back and forth timeline in theory. A book I read and loved a while back did something similar (check out that book here) but I think this story was lacking in the present dayparts. The main character of the present storyline didn’t feel fully fleshed out. Her fears, desires, worries, etc. felt a little shallow and flat. The same goes for the other characters in the present day – they didn’t feel real or very interesting and most of their behaviors were a little too convenient.
That being said, I did find the past storylines a little better. However, there was a very annoying instance of them using a word in a context I can’t remotely believe would have been used in the late 1700s. I know that sounds kind of silly – especially since I didn’t live back then and couldn’t possibly know – but I think it started my inability to suspend disbelief. So it was kind of downhill from there.
Everything just kind of came together a little too easily for all the main characters. I didn’t feel like there was any real danger or threat in almost every situation. Now that I reflect on it a little more, I guess it kind of felt like a Hallmark or Lifetime movie, in book form.
While the author did a fine job with her settings and the dialogue in most situations, I do think the writing as a whole left a little to be desired. I didn’t find any of the lines particularly memorable or interesting, and thus – as you can see below – I didn’t mark that many quotes.
That’s not always bad of course! Plenty of authors write stories I love but don’t like many quotes. But I do think the lackluster writing in combination with the all-too-convenient stories made me feel a little disappointed.
Buy It Now!
Favorite Quotes from Lost Apothecary
“What I’d always considered sensible in [him] seemed, for the first time, something else; stifling and subtly manipulative.”
“You are not searching for a thing so much as you are searching for an inconsistency of things, or an absence.”
“Think of it – if we become a ghost when we die, and if we haunt the places we once lived, would not all of London be in a perpetual fog?”
“Intermingled in the mess was another, subtler secret that [he] and I had hid from each other for years: we were happy, yet unfulfilled.”
I hate to say it, but The Lost Apothecary only gets 3 stars from me. It was just a bit too unbelievable and too “sweet” for me to get interested in the story. But for other people, those reasons might be why they like it?! Who knows.
Maybe this would make a great beach read for people, as it’s light and can probably be read quickly if you don’t have other, more interesting activities to distract you. Or if you’re a big fan of made-for-TV movies, you might enjoy this. If not – maybe pass on this one.